Posts tagged film

Double take_

A friend sent me the link to Sam O’hare’s short film, The Sandpit. At first I thought I was viewing an incredibly realised model reproduction of New York. And then the penny dropped. This was New York – real, pulsing, alive. 35,000 photographic stills were taken to create the film which records the events of a day in the city from a bird’s eye view. A labour of love if there ever was one. There’s something about the perspective and use of light that gives the impression of looking at models. It invokes childhood memories of Lego, toy railways. Hypnotic, naive and clever.

You can view the film at:


In a way the piece reminds me of Thomas Demand’s photographs [click here to view my post on the photographer.] Whereby O’Hare creates a hyper-unreal version of the real, Demand does the opposite with his hyper-real photographs of precisely assembled paper models. They both walk the thin, grey line between fantasy and actuality. Both equally engaging.

From Thomas Demand’s Nationalgalerie

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A famous Hollywood actress that never seems to age commits suicide by jumping in front of a train. Plastic surgery. Illusion. Disillusion. Ill-fated love…What’s there not to love about Fedora? Brilliantly camp. Remember watching this with a hot cup of cocoa in my PJs, aged 9 – no wonder I turned out the way I did! She bears a striking resemblance to the Lady You Should Know from the previous post, no?

They don’t make ’em like they used to…


I remember the scandal this caused, being a child of the 70s. Never got to see any of the films until I was much older, of course. Soft focus erotica… Softly sweet. Soft. Kind of feeling this. Not sure how it’ll translate or what it all means yet but its a different kind of sexiness. More sensual. A knowing innocence, if that make sense. Nothing hard and graphic. Just soft…

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I’ve been to Naples a few times and it is one of my favourite places in Italy. There really is no other place like it. Taking a taxi is taking your life into your own hands! There’s an amazing market on the outskirts that many fashion houses and vintage store-owners go to get their fix. Everything’s piled high and you’ve got to dig deep. Found the most beautiful sun-bleached nappa blouson there. However, you’re warned to leave the moment the market finishes for your own safety. Now I know why…

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I really don’t want to say too much about this film. Watch it. It took me a while to get round to it. Perhaps you’ve read the book. I haven’t but I’m planning to. It’s one of the most powerful films I have seen in ages. It centres around the Camorra, an organised crime network based in the Province of Napoli, in Southern Italy. Whereas a lot of “maffia”  films tend to glamourise crime this is as hard-hitting and realist as it gets. In fact, there is a scene where two twentysomething “knob heads” reenact scenes from Scarface that’s very tongue in cheek.

Gomorrah is an incredibly violent film albeit done with a solid dose of realism – nothing is gratuitous. You really feel like a fly on the wall. Incredible acting. The whole thing is done so matter-of-factly that at the end of the film I found myself thinking: God, people really do live like this.

The author of the book, Roberto Saviano, is under police protection. He seriously pissed some people off and Umberto Eco’s called him a national hero.

For me, as always, I was drawn to the powerful imagery in the film. Take a look…

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Last night I saw the new Almodovar at the Rio Cinema in Dalston. Its probably the most apt space to view an Almodovar – the velvet chairs, vagueishly art deco interior, the layers of dust, the faint hint of cigarette smoke – all reminders of a bygone era. Recently, I’ve made it a principle to not read a review of a film until I have seen it. Perhaps a risky move but I prefer to form my own opinions. Incidentally, the reviews of said film have been so-so and I can perhaps see why. It’s your typical Amodovar – high camp and theatrics, convoluted plot – but at the same time it isn’t. It also clocks in at one and a half hours but feels longer than that.

I thought it was terrific.

Penelope Cruz was as radiant as ever. Almodovar clearly adores her. Every moment she’s on screen you can almost feel that he becomes more involved. It’s almost like he is painting her, each frame of her like an artist’s brush stroke in thick, luscious sweeps of oil.

For all the focus on Cruz and other female characters – Blanca Portillo is a joy to watch and has some hilarious scene-stealing moments – this is a film about men. The evil that men do, men in love, the relationship between father and son, homosexuality, male pride – so much so that it could have been called Men On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown. The only other Almodovar I can recall that deals with male relationships is Bad Education. However, it’s obvious that it’s the female perspective that truly interests Almodovar and squarley where his sympathies lay.

The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to grab some film stills of this bad boy! I’m not going to ruin any visual surprises but I’d gladly see it again, and probably will, just because of this alone. The other thing I loved about it was the way the story unfolded in slowly undulating waves, flowing from past to present, shifting focus… The recurring mantra is “film within a film”.

Usually, Almodovar films are quite chaotic affairs but Broken Embraces somehow manages to be both busy yet calm at the same time. It’s also very, very funny whilst at times it’s repels you.

Finally, Code Red. Red appears judiciously throughout the film. An Almodovar signature as we all know but the use of red in this film is so intense that its almost overpowering. I find this use of red quite interesting. It makes me think of the way the designer Valentino would always include a red dress in collections. Perhaps Pantone should create an Almodovar Red. A million obvious parallels could be drawn:


Red apple – in this case red tomatoes

Red lips






It’s that Vampiric theme I was banging on about in an earlier post, or was going to, rearing its head again. The idea hasn’t quite formed yet but the pieces seem to be falling together.

“We make our own choices…and we pay our own prices”. Saw this recently for the first time in ages and remembered how good it was! Gina Gershon’s bitchin’ and Jennifer Tilly’s just smouldering. Nicely shot film, especially the bit at the end when Corky shoots her gangster boy-fiend and crimson droplets fall onto the spilled white paint on the floor, marking it like a new Jackson Pollock painting. Femme fatale meets James Dean, very Dolce, no?


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